Week 9 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

Published April 30, 2023

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Week 9 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

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Welcome to our 12-week Bible study, Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John, covering the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus. “Come and See” how the Gospel of John reveals the depth of God’s love and grace, and how it can transform your life.

Through this study, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, what he accomplished, and how to respond to him in faith, obedience, and love. You’ll also learn about his role as the Son of God and what his life and death mean for us today.

Each week, we’ll explore a different theme from the Gospel of John, including love, grace, and forgiveness. We’ll also take time to reflect on what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we can apply these teachings to our lives.

If you haven’t registered, no problem at all. Register now (yes, right now!) for this in-person Bible study and experience a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers, and the joy of growing in your faith as you share the Gospel of Jesus with others.

Week 9: Overview

Here’s a quick recap of what we covered in Week 9 using Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) as our weekly discussion guide:

  • Discover the underlying reason for Peter’s actions of defending Jesus in one moment but denying him multiple times shortly after.
  • Analyze the ways in which we can relate to Peter and Pilate in our own personal relationships with Jesus.
  • Explore how Jesus’ life and work align with God’s redemptive mission and fulfill Old Testament prophecies.
  • Gain a deeper comprehension of the significance of the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross and its implications for our lives.
  • Learn how the work of the cross goes beyond biological connections and highlights the importance of spiritual kinship and family.

Jesus is Betrayed (18:1-11)

Judas, the betrayer, approaches Jesus with soldiers, lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus boldly walks forward and approaches his captors.  Once they state that they are looking for “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus replies, “I am he,” and immediately his captors draw back and fall to the ground.  Falling to the ground is a common reaction to divine revelation.  Jesus’ captors fall to the ground because his self-identification, “I am he,” has connotations of deity (see, for example, John 6:20; 8:24; 8:58).  Review also Ezekiel 1:28, Acts 9:4, and Revelation 1:17.  How do these passages illuminate this scene?

In this scene, Jesus’ self-identification as “I am he” causes his captors to fall to the ground, which suggests a divine revelation. This reaction is consistent with other biblical passages that describe encounters with God or divine beings, such as Ezekiel 1:28, where Ezekiel falls on his face after seeing a vision of God, and Acts 9:4, where Saul falls to the ground after encountering the resurrected Jesus.

Similarly, Revelation 1:17 describes the apostle John falling at the feet of a glorified Jesus, overcome by the sight of his divine glory. All of these passages highlight the awe-inspiring power and majesty of God, which can cause humans to fall to their knees in reverence and worship. In the case of Jesus’ captors, their reaction to his divine revelation serves to emphasize his unique status as the Son of God.

Rebuking Peter for his use of the sword, Jesus says, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11).  Explain the meaning of Jesus’ words.  What is the cup the Father has given him? To color in your answer, reference Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, and Jeremiah 25:15-17?

When Peter attempts to defend Jesus by using a sword, Jesus stops him and reminds him that he must drink the cup that the Father has given him. This statement indicates that Jesus must endure the suffering that is part of God’s plan for him. The cup represents the suffering and death that Jesus must undergo in order to accomplish God’s plan of salvation for humanity.

The passages of Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, and Jeremiah 25:15-17 help us understand that the cup Jesus refers to is the cup of God’s wrath, which he will drink on behalf of humanity. Jesus is saying that he must fulfill God’s plan and suffer the penalty for humanity’s sin, even though it will be a bitter cup to drink. By rebuking Peter for his use of the sword, Jesus shows that his mission is not to fight against his captors but to submit to the will of God and fulfill his redemptive mission.

Jesus Is Arrested and Tried (18:12-19:16)

Contrast John 13:17 with 18:15-18. What caused this disciple to change his stance?

In John 13:17, Jesus tells his disciples, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” This statement emphasizes the importance of putting Jesus’ teachings into action.

In contrast, in John 18:15-18, we see that Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. This is a significant change in Peter’s stance from earlier in the evening when he was willing to use violence to protect Jesus. The cause of this change is likely fear, and in some cases, likely a lack of humility too, but mostly fear. As Jesus is being led away to face his accusers, Peter is repeatedly questioned about his association with Jesus, and he becomes afraid of being identified as a follower of Jesus. This fear leads him to deny Jesus, even though he had previously shown a willingness to defend him.

Pilate asks Jesus if he is “the King of the Jews” (John 18:33).  Jesus answers Pilate, explaining the different nature of the kingdom of God. What do we learning about this kingdom and this King from Jesus’ words?

When Pilate asks Jesus if he is the King of the Jews, Jesus replies, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Jesus is making it clear that His kingdom is not of this world and that His reign is spiritual rather than political. He explains that if His kingdom were of this world, His followers would have fought to prevent His arrest. However, Jesus’ kingdom is not established by the sword, as earthly kingdoms are, but through the power of God.

Jesus’ response reveals that His kingdom is a heavenly one, not an earthly one, and that His power comes from God. This stands in contrast to earthly kings who derive their power from military might or political alliances. Jesus’ kingdom is not defined by physical borders or nationalistic ideals, but by the transformation of hearts and souls. His reign brings salvation and eternal life, not temporal power or earthly riches.

According to Jesus, where does Pilate’s authority come from?  Does Pilate think Jesus is guilty or innocent?  Why does Pilate go forward with crucifying Jesus?

Jesus acknowledges that Pilate’s authority comes from a worldly source, likely meaning the Roman Empire, but most importantly, Jesus is referring to Pilate’s power coming from no other authority than God, and God alone. Pilate seems uncertain about whether Jesus is guilty or innocent and asks him several times about his claims and accusations against him, eventually believing Jesus to be innocent of no wrongdoing. 

However, ultimately, Pilate succumbs to the pressure of the Jewish leaders and the crowd who demand Jesus’ crucifixion. He may have also been motivated by his own political considerations and desire to maintain order and avoid potential uprisings.

Jesus Is Crucified (19:16-42)

John makes frequent use of double meaning and irony in his Gospel.  Note the two instances of irony in this section of John.  First, it was once Pilate “sat down on the judgment seat” (19:13) that Pilate sentenced the Son of God to his crucifixion. Second, “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’” (19:19). This inscription was written in three languages, allowing the majority of people in the vicinity of Jerusalem to read it.  What double meaning or irony do you see in these two events?

The first instance of irony in this section is that Pilate, who sits on the judgment seat as a symbol of his authority to administer justice, ends up pronouncing an unjust verdict and sentencing an innocent man to death. The one who should be judged is actually judging the judge himself.

The second instance of irony is that the inscription Pilate wrote and placed on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” is actually a true statement, though it was intended to be sarcastic. Pilate wrote it as a mocking title to humiliate Jesus, but it inadvertently reveals the truth about who Jesus really is: the long-awaited Messiah, the King of the Jews. The title written in three languages also emphasizes the universality of Jesus’ message and identity.

Read Psalm 22, a psalm that prophesies the suffering of the Messiah.  What key connections and fulfillments do you see between Psalm 22 and John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion?

Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm that speaks about the suffering of the Messiah. As we read through the psalm, we can see many connections and fulfillments between it and John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion. Here are a few examples:

  • Psalm 22:1 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Jesus quotes this line from the cross in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. This line shows the intense emotional and spiritual agony that Jesus experienced on the cross.
  • Psalm 22:7-8 – “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!'” – The gospel accounts tell us that people mocked Jesus while he was on the cross, saying things like “He saved others; he cannot save himself” (Matthew 27:42) and “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32).
  • Psalm 22:14-15 – “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.” – These verses describe the physical suffering that Jesus experienced on the cross, including the dislocation of his bones, dehydration, and exhaustion.
  • Psalm 22:16 – “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” – The gospel accounts tell us that the soldiers divided Jesus’ garments among them and cast lots for his tunic (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23-24).

These are just a few examples of the connections between Psalm 22 and John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion. As we read through the Psalm, we see many more details and descriptions that help us to understand the depth of Jesus’ suffering and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in his death on the cross.

What do we learn about Jesus from how cares for his mother from the cross (19:25-27)? Why does Jesus do this?

From how Jesus cares for his mother from the cross, we learn that Jesus is not only concerned with fulfilling his mission and completing the work his Father has given him but also with the well-being of his loved ones. Even in his final moments, Jesus takes the time to entrust the care of his mother to the beloved disciple, John, ensuring that she would have someone to provide for her after his death.

Jesus does this out of love and honor for his mother, fulfilling the commandment to honor one’s father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Additionally, by assigning the care of his mother to the beloved disciple, Jesus also creates a new family relationship among his followers, transcending blood ties and emphasizing spiritual kinship.

“It is finished” are the last words Jesus speaks from the cross (19:30).  With these words Jesus announces the completion of the preeminent work the Father sent him to do; namely, his work of bearing the penalty for his people’s sins.  These three words are among the most powerful words in the Bible.  Ponder and reflect on the finished work of Christ on the cross and how this finished work intersects with your own life today.

Jesus’ declaration “it is finished” signifies that his work of redemption is complete, that he has paid the price for the sins of humanity, and that salvation is now available to all who believe in him. This work of salvation on the cross is a demonstration of God’s love for us and the extent to which he is willing to go to reconcile us to himself.

The finished work of Christ on the cross provides a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God. Through faith in Jesus, we are adopted as children of God and granted eternal life. This work on the cross is a source of hope, comfort, and joy for believers, as it gives us assurance that our salvation is secure in Christ.

Reflecting on the finished work of Christ on the cross should lead us to gratitude, worship, and obedience to him. We should live our lives in light of what Jesus has done for us, seeking to honor him in all that we do and sharing the good news of salvation with others.

Don’t forget to read through the three sections in Week 9 of Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) on Gospel Glimpses, Whole-Bible Connections, and Theological Soundings. Then take time to reflect on the Personal Implications these sections are likely to have on your walk and relationship with Lord Christ Jesus and his people.

Take a moment now to ask for the Lord’s blessing and help as you engage in this study of John. And take a moment also to look back through this unit of study, to reflect on a few key things that the Lord may be teaching you — and perhaps to highlight or underline these to review again in the future.

We hope these notes have been helpful in catching up on what we’ve covered so far. We’re excited to continue our study of John together next week in Week 10!

In the meantime, explore a very engaging animation video from the Bible Project team that explains the first twelve chapters of the Gospel of John. Additionally, you can read Mark L. Strauss’ article John: The Gospel of the Eternal Son Who Reveals the Father.”

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